Pardot segmentation—static, dynamic and test lists

by | Apr 23, 2022 | Blog, Featured, Nurture, Pardot, Segmentation Lists

Date last updated:

One of the first items of business when setting up your Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (Pardot) account is to organize your prospects in various lists. Pardot keeps it fairly simple and straightforward with three types of lists: dynamic, static and test lists. To create a list in Pardot Lightning, go to Prospects on the top menu and then to Segmentation on the lefthand menu. To determine which type of list you might wish to create, let’s go over the characteristics of each list type, starting with the list you’re likely to use the most: static lists.

Pardot list types

Static lists

Creating a static list in Pardot is easy. You’ll go to Prospects>Segmentation>Segmentation Lists and create a new list. List name and location are mandatory fields for all list types. We also recommend establishing a tag naming convention that will be used consistently by all Pardot users. This will help to you quickly locate these lists and to run reports on this list in the future. You will not tick email test list or dynamic list.

Public list—if you tick this box, this list will be visible in prospects’ email preference center. Ticking this box is recommending for all communications that people can opt in and out of, such as newsletters.

CRM visible—if you tick this box, this list will be visible on the lead and/or contact profile in Salesforce. This is a handy feature if most of your team primarily uses Salesforce. They don’t need to go into Pardot to see if a contact or lead is part of this mailing list.

Creating a Pardot list

If you want to add prospects to a list once they’ve completed a form, you’ll create a static list for this. When creating the form, you’ll add a completion action of ‘add to list’. You can use static lists as suppression lists and in Engagement Programs as well. Static lists can also be split into other lists. The default is 50/50 but you can change this to anything that equals 100%. You can also split a list into more than two lists. Static lists cannot be converted into dynamic lists.

Splitting a Pardot list


Test lists

Tests lists serve a specific purpose—they are for testing emails. If you want to test out a new template or Engagement Studio, you can use the test list for this. Test lists can also be CRM visible but they cannot be public lists, since you would not want contacts and leads to be able to subscribe to an internal test list. If a recipient clicks on the Email Preference Center or the Unsubscribe links, they will not be removed from the test list but they will be taken to the respective landing page so that they can test that the link works.

Note: Test lists can have up to 100 prospects. Completion actions do not fire on emails sent to test lists.

Dynamic lists

Dynamic lists are rule based. They automatically add or remove prospects when they match, or unmatch, criteria. Dynamic lists are the ideal choice for lists that change frequently, such as clients, employees and subscribers. They are also a desirable choice for Engagement Programs.

Because dynamic lists are based entirely on rules, prospects cannot be manually added or removed. Because prospects cannot manually be added or removed dynamic lists cannot be public, nor can they be CRM visible. Dynamic lists can be split but the newly created sub-lists will be static lists.

Pardot list comparisons

Dynamic lists are not CRM visible and cannot be split into subsequent dynamic lists. Test lists are normally comprised of internal users and are used for testing emails and Engagement Programs.



Dynamic, static and test lists are the three main list types in Pardot. Static lists are used when criteria don’t change frequently or when prospects need to be able to opt in or out. Dynamic lists are populated entirely by rules; prospects cannot be added or removed manually.


In April 2022, Salesforce announced the rebrand of Pardot to Marketing Cloud Account Engagement. While the rebrand unfolds and the world adapts to the new nomenclature, we'll keep the Pardot name in our blog posts.


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More about the Pardot rename

Salesforce has made what I believe is a branding mistake. Today (April 13, 2022) they officially renamed Pardot to “Marketing Cloud Account Engagement”.

Not to be unavoidably confused with Marketing Cloud or Engage, which are separate products, or Engagement Program which is a feature of Pardot. And those who know Pardot well know how well Pardot engages with in Pardot, and only if there's a prospect related to an account does an account even show up in Pardot.

Since most people agree that Pardot is a B2B marketing platform, Salesforce should have put B2B in the name somehow rather than Account.

Reminds me of the naming issue for Quip, formerly named Salesforce Anywhere, formerly named Quip (renamed by Salesforce when they acquired it, then renamed again by Salesforce back to the original name since everyone still referred to it as Quip, which was a better name to begin with).

Maybe if we're lucky 'Marketing Cloud Account Engagement' will follow suit and become 'Pardot, formerly named Marketing Cloud Account Engagement, formerly named Pardot'.

Good luck to us proud few formerly known as Pardot Consultants (5 syllables), now Marketing Cloud Account Engagement Consultants (12 syllables), or worse yet, we're a Marketing Cloud Account Engagement Consulting Agency. Try putting that on your business card or in your LinkedIn title. Even though I don't really know Marketing Cloud in its original sense (Marketing Cloud as the world knows it, a.k.a. ExactTarget), I'm now a Marketing Cloud Consultant.

Good luck to companies as Pardot users trying to remember the new name, and socializing it internally.

Good luck to Salesforce reps trying to sell this under the new name without it being confused with the other Marketing Cloud.

And good luck to recruiters trying to staff for Marketing Cloud Account Engagement specialists, hmmm, Pardot specialists.


Update 2022-04-27: In the real world there are many permutations of the new name going about and it's only been 2 weeks since the name change as of this writing. Already starting to see the inevitability of people calling it “Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (Pardot)”, “Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (powered by Pardot)”, "MCAE" (phonetically pronounced mckay), etc., and actually most people are resigned to still just call it Pardot. Period.

Sad. 😞

So far I haven’t heard anyone on the internet or elsewhere say it was a good move.

The remaining question is how long will it be before Salesforce realizes their branding mistake and renames Pardot once again, 3 months? 6 months? 9 months? A full year, or never? If never, is it because Salesforce at that point would still think they did the right thing with the rename, or would it be because Salesforce is too obstinate to realize and correct their mistake? (Most people think Salesforce will change the Pardot name once again within 6 months.)

Time will tell, but for a long time from now we expect we'll still be calling it Pardot.

Long live Pardot.


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